Carlos Alcaraz Defeats Novak Djokovic to Claim Second Consecutive Wimbledon Title

Carlos Alcaraz has retained his Wimbledon crown…

After winning his first title at the All England Club in 2023 against seven-time champion Novak Djokovic, the 21-year-old Spanish tennis star defeated the former World No. 1 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (4) to claim his second straight Wimbledon title.

Carlos AlcarazBy the end of the 2-hour, 27-minute clash on Centre Court, Alcaraz had won his fourth major title and second at Wimbledon, dashing Djokovic’s latest hopes for history.

As the likes of the Princess of Wales, Tom Cruise, Benedict Cumberbatch and former champions Stan Smith, Andre Agassi, Rod Laver and Chris Evert looked on, Alcaraz raised his arms in the air before pointing to his head while looking at his team.

“In an interview when I was 11 years old, I said that my dream is to win Wimbledon,” Alcaraz told the crowd during the trophy ceremony. “So I’m repeating my dream.”

While Djokovic, 37, had been on the hunt to take sole possession of the most Grand Slam singles titles in history with 25 and surpass Margaret Court for the distinction, it was Alcaraz who etched his name into the record books Sunday.

Carlos AlcarazHe became the third-youngest man to win four Grand Slam singles titles in the Open era, behind only Mats Wilander and Bjorn Borg. Having now won in all four of his major final appearances, Alcaraz trails just Roger Federer, who was victorious in his first seven major finals, for the longest opening streak among men’s players.

Perhaps most notably, by winning the French Open and Wimbledon in the same season, Alcaraz joins Djokovic, Federer and Rafael Nadal as the only men to have done it in the past 40 years. Borg and Rod Laver are the only other men to have achieved the feat in the Open era.

“It is a great feeling even thinking about being [the] French Open winner and Wimbledon champion the same year [and] that few players just done it before,” Alcaraz said in a news conference. “It’s unbelievable.”

Despite the 16-year age difference between Alcaraz and Djokovic, it was their sixth career meeting. The series is now tied at three matches each, with Alcaraz having won both meetings in a major final. Even Djokovic couldn’t help but be impressed by Alcaraz after the match.

“Huge congrats to Carlos,” Djokovic told reporters. “[He] deserved this win today. He was the better player from the beginning till the end.”

Despite losing in the round of 16 in his lone grass lead-in event at Queen’s Club, Alcaraz entered Wimbledon as the co-favorite with world No. 1 Jannik Sinner.

But returning to the final wasn’t easy. He dropped the opening set in three of his six matches ahead of the final and needed five sets to defeat No. 29 seed Frances Tiafoe in the third round. But after his 6-7 (1), 6-3, 6-4, 6-4 semifinal victory over Daniil Medvedev on Friday, Alcaraz said he felt good about the state of his game.

That confidence was on full display Sunday. After the opening game, Alcaraz needed just 28 more minutes to close out the first set and 75 total minutes to take a 2-0 lead. With the crowd largely behind him, as it had been for most of the tournament, Djokovic seemed to have no answers for Alcaraz’s power and variety.

Djokovic raised his level in the third set, and Alcaraz began to show signs of nerves for the first time. Serving for the match at 5-4, Alcaraz squandered three championship points and was ultimately broken for the first time after a double fault and a string of errors. Both Djokovic and Alcaraz then held on their next service games to force a tiebreak. But Alcaraz took control and ultimately left nothing to chance, winning the match on his fourth championship point.

“It was difficult for me,” Alcaraz said. “I tried to just stay calm. I tried to stay positive from that situation, going into the tiebreak, and I tried to play my best tennis. That’s all I was thinking about. Really glad that I, at the end, could find the solutions.”

While not the result Djokovic had been hoping for, he said he was “very proud” of his performance overall and in reaching the final. After having to withdraw ahead of his quarterfinal match at the French Open last month, Djokovic underwent surgery for a torn medial meniscus in his right knee on June 5, leaving his status for Wimbledon in doubt. Even when he arrived in London the week before the main draw got underway, he told the BBC he was still unsure whether he would play but would do so only if he believed he had a chance to “fight for the title.”

En route to the final, he showed few signs of discomfort and dropped just two sets in five matches. (His quarterfinal opponent, Alex de Minaur, withdrew with a hip injury.) On Friday after his straight-sets semifinal win over Lorenzo Musetti, Djokovic said he felt as if he was “playing close to my best.”

But that wasn’t enough on Sunday, and Djokovic lost in a major final in straight sets for just the fifth time in his career. Since Djokovic took over the world No. 1 ranking for the first time in 2011, this marks just the second season in which he has not won any of the year’s first three major titles. He was reflective when speaking to the Centre Court crowd after the match.

“Obviously there’s a little bit of a disappointment right now as we’re talking 10 minutes after the match finished, but when I reflect, I’m sure on the last … four to five weeks, and really what I’ve been through along with, of course, with my team members and family, I have to say that I’m very satisfied because Wimbledon has always been a childhood dream tournament of mine,” Djokovic said.

“I always wanted to be here, play on the center stage. I try to remind myself of sometimes how surreal the feeling is of being here, and even though I was playing so many matches in my life and being really blessed to be fighting for the trophy 10 times in my career, as you mentioned, but every single time I step on the court, it feels like the first time. So I’m a child living my childhood dream once again.”

Asked in his news conference later if this would be his final Wimbledon appearance, Djokovic insisted he had no plans to retire soon and was focused on the upcoming Olympic Games and the US Open.

“As far as coming back here, I mean, I would love to,” he said. “I don’t have anything else in my thoughts right now that this is my last Wimbledon. … I don’t have any limitations in my mind. I still want to keep going and play as long as I feel like I can play on this high level.”

Elly De La Cruz Appears in New Ad for Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One”

Elly De La Cruz is on a mission

The 21-year-old Dominican professional baseball player, a Cincinnati Reds rookie, shows off his acting skills in a new advertisement for the upcoming movie “Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, starring Tom Cruise.

Elly De La CruzDe La Cruz, who has been a breakout star on the field this season, appears alongside soccer star Alex Morgan and NFL standout Odell Beckham Jr. 

The three athletes show off their speed in homage to Cruise’s signature sprint in the long-running action franchise.

De La Cruz, a third baseman, filmed his portion of the ad — in which he swings a bat and runs — about two weeks ago.

He fielded questions from reporters on Friday night before the NL Central-leading Reds took on the second-place Milwaukee Brewers in the opener of a three-game series before the MLB All-Star break. The teams will meet again immediately after the break, with a three-game set in Cincinnati.

Asked if he had acted before, De La Cruz laughed and responded, “Just by myself, yeah, I’ve been an actor.”

De La Cruz is batting .325 in 27 games with four homers, 14 RBI, 12 stolen bases and 25 runs scored.

The Reds were 27-33 when De La Cruz was promoted from Triple-A Chattanooga on June 6. Since then, the club has rocketed into first place, going 22-6 and carrying a two-game lead over Milwaukee into this weekend’s series. He has started 27 of the Reds’ 28 games since his debut.

De La Cruz touched on why he wears No. 44 — made famous by Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.

“It’s just an honor to have that number and to wear this same number that a lot of legends in this game have worn in the past,” De La Cruz said. “It’s just an honor.”

National Board of Review Recognizes Claudio Miranda with Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography Award

Claudio Miranda is under review

The National Board of Review has announced its 2022 film honorees, with the the 57-year-old Chilean Oscar-winning cinematographer earning a shout out.

Claudio MirandaMiranda was recognized with the Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography award for his work on Top Gun: Maverick, which was Best Film.

Top Gun: Maverick is a thrilling crowd-pleaser that is expertly crafted on every level,” said NBR President Annie Schulhof. “Tom Cruise, Joseph Kosinski and the entire filmmaking team have succeeded in making an incredibly popular film that brought audiences back to theaters, while at the same time being a full-on cinematic achievement.”

Miranda had previously picked up the Best Cinematography prize from New York Film Critics Circle. 

Santiago Mitre’s Argentina, 1985 picked up two recognitions…

The 42-year-old Argentine directors historical drama, starring Ricardo Darín, was recognized as one of the NBR Freedom of Expression Awards honorees, as well as one of the NBR’s selections for Top 5 International Films.

Here’s a look at NBR’s list of the year’s 10 best films and its other award winners:

Best Film
Top Gun: Maverick

Best Director
Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans

Best Actor
Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin

Best Actress
Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once

Best Supporting Actor
Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin

Best Supporting Actress
Janelle Monáe, Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

Best Original Screenplay
Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin

Best Adapted Screenplay
Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson, Ian Stokell, All Quiet on the Western Front

Breakthrough Performance
Danielle Deadwyler, Till

Breakthrough Performance
Gabriel LaBelle, The Fabelmans

Best Directorial Debut
Charlotte Wells, Aftersun

Best Animated Feature
Marcel the Shell with Shoes On

Best International Film

Best Documentary

Best Ensemble
Women Talking

Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography
Claudio Miranda, Top Gun: Maverick

NBR Freedom of Expression Awards
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
Argentina, 1985

Top Films (in alphabetical order):
Avatar: The Way of Water 
The Banshees of Inisherin
Everything Everywhere All at Once 
The Fabelmans
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery 
The Woman King 
Women Talking

Top 5 International Films (in alphabetical order)
All Quiet on the Western Front
Argentina, 1985
Decision to Leave
Saint Omer

Top 5 Documentaries (in alphabetical order)
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed
All That Breathes
Turn Every Page – The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb

Top 10 Independent Films (in alphabetical order)
Armageddon Time
Emily the Criminal
The Eternal Daughter
Funny Pages
The Inspection
A Love Song
The Wonder
To Leslie

Alejandro Edda to Star in Kevin Costner’s Epic Western Film Saga “Horizon”

Alejandro Edda is just beyond the horizon

The 38-year-old Mexican–American actor has joined the ensemble cast of Kevin Costner’s epic Western film saga Horizon at Warner Bros/New Line.

Alejandro EddaEdda is among a list of new cast additions that includes Jena Malone, Tatanka Means and Michael Rooker.

The foursome join an expanding roster that includes Sienna Miller, Sam Worthington, Jamie Campbell Bower, Luke Wilson and Thomas Haden Church.

Costner will produce through his Territory Pictures, and direct and star in the period film, which he co-wrote with Jon Baird.

Horizon chronicles a multi-faceted 15-year span of pre- and post-Civil War expansion and settlement of the American West. Experienced through the eyes of many, the epic journey is fraught with peril and intrigue from the constant onslaught of natural elements, to the interactions with the indigenous peoples who lived on the land, and the determination and at many times ruthlessness of those who sought to settle it.

Costner returns to directing for the first time since his 2003 box office hit Open Range. With Horizon, Costner revisits Civil War-era America, the setting for his 1990 blockbuster and multi-Oscar winner Dances with Wolves, which he also directed, produced and starred in. That film won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director for Costner.

Edda was last seen on the FX series Snowfall and is returning to Season 6 as a regular. He stars as El Chapo in the Netflix series Narcos: Mexico and starred opposite Tom Cruise in American Made and in Universal/Blumhouse’s The Forever Purge.

Danny Ramirez to Star in AMC’s “Tales of the Walking Dead”

It’s all tales for Danny Ramirez

The 29-year-old Colombian and Mexican American actor has been cast in AMC’s Tales of the Walking Dead, the network’s new spinoff series set in The Walking Dead universe.

Danny RamirezHe’s among a roster of cast newcomers for the AMC Studios-produced episodic anthology series that includes Olivia Munn, Loan Chabanol, Embeth DavidtzJessie T. Usher and Gage Munroe.

Each of the six one-hour standalone episodes will focus on both new and established characters set in the world of the original series. It’s set to premiere this summer on AMC and AMC+.

The series will be executive produced by Scott M. Gimple, chief content officer of The Walking Dead Universe, and showrunner Channing Powell, writer-producer on The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead.

“Olivia, Danny, Loan, Embeth, Jessie and Gage are the latest massive talents that will bring new worlds of TWD to life with big, daring, different, emotional, shocking, scary, and crazy stories. We’re excited for them to come walk with us,” said Gimple.

“Somehow we have lucked into the greatest cast — Olivia, Jessie, Embeth, Danny, Loan, Gage… We’ve been hoping these episodes will feel like unique, little films and with this range of actors, we are well on our way,” added Powell.

Ramirez was most recently seen on television in the lead role of Joaquin Torres in The Falcon & The Winter Soldier. On the film side, he’ll next be seen in a starring role in Hulu suspense/thriller No Exit, produced by The Queens Gambit co-creator Scott Frank.

He also stars opposite Tom Cruise in Paramount’s upcoming Top Gun: Maverick and in Netflix’s Plus/Minus opposite Lili Reinhart.

He also just completed filming The Stars at Noon for director Clair Denis opposite Joe Alwyn and Margaret Qualley.

Danny Ramirez to Star in A24’s “The Stars at Noon”

Danny Ramirez is seeing stars

The 29-year-old Colombian and Mexican American actor has joined the cast of Claire Denis’ next film at A24The Stars at Noon.

Danny Ramirez Ramirez will star opposite Margaret Qualley and Joe Alwyn in the film.

Based on the novel by Denis Johnson, the story is set in 1984 during the Nicaraguan Revolution and follows a mysterious English businessman and headstrong American journalist who strike up a passionate romance. They soon become embroiled in a dangerous labyrinth of lies and conspiracies and are forced to try and escape the country, with only each other to trust and rely on.

Denis will direct and also adapted the script with Lea Mysius and Andrew Litvack. RT Features and Curiosa Films are producing the film, which was originally announced during AFM 2020.

Ramirez is fresh off the success of the Disney+ Marvel series, The Falcon & The Winter Soldier, where he co-starred opposite Anthony Mackie, playing Marvel character, Joaquin Torres.

The actor will next appear opposite Tom Cruise in Paramount’s highly anticipated Top Gun: Maverick.

Ramirez recently completed production on the 20th Century Studios for Hulu suspense/thriller, No Exit and also has the Netflix’s dual-timeline drama Plus/Minus opposite Lili Reinhart.

Porta dos Fundos Releases Trailer for Its Latest Christmas Special, “The Edge of Theocracy”

Porta dos Fundos is readying for its latest Christmas special…

The controversial hit Brazilian comedy troupe will release its annual Christmas Special, The Edge of Theocracy, on December 10.

Porta dos Fundos

A play on Petra Costa’s Oscar-nominated documentary, The Edge of Democracy, a trailer released on November 20 on its dedicated YouTube channel lured more than 300,000 views in three days.

Porta dos Fundos’ Christmas specials are renowned for their ironic, some would argue profane, take on the life of Christ.

Taking its cue from Costa’s The Edge of Democracy, which points to Brazil’s spiral into far-right politics as a cautionary tale to the world, The Edge of Theocracy satirizes Brazil’s political scene and delivers tart comments on global issues, like polarization, through the prism of Biblical events thousands of years ago. A delighted Costa gave her blessing and makes a brief appearance as herself in the show.

Shot in less than a week, the troupe opted for the documentary format in order to better adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols. The use of talking heads and testimonials were the perfect solution to rules on social distancing, said co-founder/writer Fabio Porchat, who spoke to Variety while filming some scenes outdoors last September.

Porchat, who plays Jesus, was standing in the middle of a field in sweltering 95F (35C) heat, with trees and mountains in the distance, while just behind him, his actors were playing out some scenes.

Their 2019 Xmas special, The First Temptation of Christ, featured a gay Christ, which unleashed a firestorm of complaints, a petition to ban the special signed by more than two million people and worst of all, a Molotov cocktail on their headquarters, which caused a fire that was fortunately put out by alert security guards.

“This is our seventh Christmas Special and they’ve always been provocative; only last year’s special produced a backlash,” he pointed out, suggesting that being the first one released during the tenure of current populist President Jair Bolsonaro made it a target. “His government is promoting fundamentalist religious thought,” he asserted.

There were some calls to cancel Netflix subscriptions, which the trailer cheekily refers to. “If you cancelled Netflix, get ready to cancel YouTube,” it declares, signaling the troupe’s return to their dedicated YouTube channel.

Their last two Christmas Specials, The First Temptation of Christ and The Last Hangover,” were Netflix Originals. The latter won a Best Comedy International Emmy in 2019.

“We reach a bigger audience on YouTube,” said Porchat who added that ViacomCBS, which took a majority stake in Porta dos Fundos in 2017, co-produced this year’s special with Porta dos Fundos.

Porchat admitted that the bombing of their headquarters raised their international profile so he’s grateful for that.

He is a self-confessed Monty Python fan, especially their irreverent comedy about a hapless man who is mistaken for the Messiah, Life of Brian. “We don’t insult the Bible, we research the subject matter quite extensively,” he noted.

No one is spared their satirical touch, including Buddha, Shiva and some alien creature who replies, “Ask Tom Cruise!” when asked to explain what he is in The First Temptation of Christ.

In The Edge of Theocracy various “messiahs” weigh in on an investigation of Jesus’ legitimacy.

The new special promises to be a gleeful poke in the eye to the troupe’s critics.

Esai Morales to Star as the Villain in “Mission: Impossible 7”

Esai Morales has found a new mission…The 57-year-old Puerto Rican actor has joined the cast of Mission: Impossible 7, replacing Nicholas Hoult s the film’s villain.

The Paramount and Skydance co-production was close to starting production in Italy, when the world shut down due to COVID-19 and that included the Christopher McQuarrie-directed film, which will see Tom Cruise reprise his Ethan Hunt spy character. 

Esai Morales

The delay put Hoult in conflict with another commitment.

Mission: Impossible 7 is expected to start production in late summer or early fall. 

The film was scheduled for release on July 23, 2021 but has been moved to November 19, 2021 to account for the delay. 

The entire franchise through six movies has amassed over $3.57 billion for Paramount.

Morales, who rose to acclaim as Bob Morales in La Bamba, most recently completed a stint on How To Get Away With Murder

His other credits include television roles on Magic CityChicago P.D. and NCIS: Los Angeles, and film roles in Gun Hill RoadFast Food Nation and Spare Parts.

Paramount/Skydance Moves Up Release Date for Monica Barbaro’s “Top Gun: Maverick”

Monica Barbaro has been cleared for takeoff earlier than expected…

Paramount/Skydance’s long-awaited sequel Top Gun: Maverick, starring the 29-year-old part-Mexican American actress, will fly into theaters on Wednesday, June 24 instead of Friday, June 26. 

Monica Barbaro,

That’s standard for Paramount to take a big summer event tentpole out on a Wednesday, ala their Transformers movies and even Tom Cruise’s Steven Spielberg-directed 2005 hit War of the Worlds

Joseph Kosinskidirects the Top Gunsequeloff a script by Ehren KrugerEric Warren Singer, and Christopher McQuarrie.

Barbaro stars as ‘Phoenix,’the sole female pilot in the action drama film that sees Tom Cruise return to his iconic role as Lt. Pete “Maverick” Mitchell.

Monica Barbaro Signs with United Talent Agency (UTA)

Monica Barbaro has new representation…

The 29-year-old part-Mexican American actress has signed with United Talent Agency (UTA).

Monica Barbaro

Barbaro will appear as ‘Phoenix,’ the sole female fighter pilot, in the upcoming Paramount/SkydanceTom Cruisesequel Top Gun: Maverick set for release on June 26.

Barbaro recently appeared in ABC’s Stumptownand reprised her recurring role in Splitting Up Together for the same network.

Additionally, Barbaro starred in the Netflix series The Good Cop opposite Josh Groban and Tony Danza. She’s best known for her role as Yael on the second season of Lifetime’s critically acclaimed series UnREAL

She continues to be represented by Main Title Entertainmentand Meyer & Downs.